Coca-Cola Christmas Truck

Tis the season to be nostalgic

….In the marketing sense that is.

“The Way I Was” VS “The Way It Was”

For many retailers, the emotional pull of Christmas is key to their seasonal campaign.  “The Pull of the Past” is an emotional tool used by marketers to signify Christmas.  According to Christopher Marchegiani and Ian Phau, there are two types of nostalgia: personal nostalgia and historical nostalgia.  Personal, i.e. looking back at your past is an emotional ploy which may feature scenes associated with childhood, such as old toys, retro items or memorabilia that in some way reminds you of some event featured in your past.  Historical nostalgia looks at past events which may or may not have happened during your time.  For the marketer, the aim of this will be to evoke a certain emotional response from their target consumers.

Marketers often use personal or historical references in their seasonal marketing campaigns to evoke an emotional response from consumers in the hope that this will lead them to making a final purchase or supporting a call to action.  Traditional symbols we associate with Christmas feature heavily in seasonal campaigns, such as the traditional family scene, Santa Claus and Christmas presents all set amongst a backdrop featuring an idyllic snowy background.  For most consumers, Christmas is a time when families get together, exchange presents and eat large quantities turkey and marketers can exploit this.

This festive season saw a mix of nostalgias exploited in various seasonal marketing campaigns.  The personal and the historical were featured across the UK this month as many retailers challenged each other’s creativity to market their brand and claim the coveted Best Christmas Aprize; aka thousands of teary eyed fans and a social media frenzy.

Seasonal Hashtag Frenzy

Penguins, chocolate and fizzy drinks are the key ingredients of this year’s festive ad campaigns.


Coca-Cola created Santa Claus.  Well, actually no they didn’t but they did create the Santa Claus millions of people worldwide know and love today.  The jolly bearded man in the red suit is the Coca-Cola Santa Claus; a much loved, key signifier of the holiday.  Coca-Cola’s seasonal marketing campaign features around their ‘Holidays are coming’ tagline which, for some people, marks the start of the festive season.  For the average consumer, the idyllic scenes usually depicted in the ads are close to the perfect Christmas.  The emotional pull of their ads stir up feelings of oneness amongst families, friends and neighbours which is depicted in the Holidays Are Coming ad.  Since 1995 the Holidays Are Coming ad campaign has featured the iconic red Coca-Cola Christmas trucks, a sight which most consumers associate with as being the start of Christmas, myself included.


Monty John Lewis
Monty the Penguin

Monty the CGI-animated Penguin took England by storm.  The video ad which was released earlier this month has just under 19million views on Youtube.  If that’s not enough Monty for you, he has a personal Twitter account, a dedicated page on the John Lewis website and his own merchandise.  The £7m festive ad campaign features a young boy and his animated-CGI penguin playing games, sledging and just having fun.  It shows the true innocence of childhood where one of life’s hardest decision was which toy to play with next.  The tear-jerking end introduces Mabel, Monty’s female mate.  The brand appears across multiple platforms, including: social media, video, physical merchandise and even a dedicated Monty storytelling app.  John Lewis have utilised a wide range of both print and digital platforms and encourage viewers to share the ad on social media.  To view Monty’s page, click here.


Sainbury’s heartbreakingly controversial Christmas ad features historical nostalgia at its finest.  The festive ad campaign to mark the retailer’s 20 year-relationship with the Royal British Legion, features a depiction of WW1’s Christmas Truce and has split viewers.  The ad shows the British soldier giving the German soldier his bar of chocolate which he had just received as a Christmas present.  The chocolate bar featured in the ad is available to purchase in stores where profits made will be donated to the Royal British Legion.  On one hand it has been dubbed ‘better than the John Lewis advert’.

Tweet about Sainsbury's Christmas ad
Tweet about Sainsbury’s Christmas ad from Ken Bradshaw MP

On the other hand however, it has come under fire from viewers who found it to be disrespectful and an inaccurate portrayal of the Christmas Truce, receiving hundreds of complaints.  The intention of the ad was to stir feelings of sentimentality and companionship, particularly at a time when consumers feel it the most.  According to Campaignthe ad has topped the viral charts ahead of John Lewis this week with the most social shares.  

Content Marketing

The Acronymization of Digital Marketing

In the marketing business, those who know their B2B from their B2C and now C2C; PPC, CPC and how it differs from the CPM; how CSS and HTML can work together…I could go on.  With all the theories, concepts, acronyms and professional insights what does it all mean?

The concept of marketing has undergone many changes in the past century or so.  Previously it was a term used to describe buying and selling related activities according to the Journal of History Marketing Theory and Practiceand its origins date all the way back to the Sixteenth Century.  The earliest definitions focused on the effect the practice had on wider society, whereas more contemporary definitions shifted the focus towards the effect it had on the business in which the marketing function operated within.  These later definitions proved to be problematic as they disregard the impact marketing practices can have on society.  Not only has the definition of marketing changed, its practices have radically improved.  Marketing has gone digital.

Marketing practices have become a series of letters and acronyms, constantly evolving thanks to technology and with this evolution comes new theories and insight.

Internet in our back pocket

Not only has the influx of new technology changed marketing practices, it has also given consumers more power to be selective.  Competition between brands is fierce with the more innovative marketing campaigns being selected over the well-known ones.  Since it’s development in 1989, the WorldWideWeb and creation of the internet has created a new platform for marketers to send out their message and engage customers with.  Internet marketing was born in the early 2000s and more and more businesses adopted digital marketing techniques to advertise their brand and promote their message.  With this development came the influx of digital device ownership and with that; the marketing conundrum.

Below are some top tips that every digital marketer should know:

  • Does your marketing strategy fully integrate digital and print techniques?
  • Content marketing is your best friend and may just save you money.  Good content will increase engagement with your customers and should drive your strategy forward.
  • Think about your target audience: what devices are they using and how are they using these devices? Are they using social media and what social media platforms are they using?
  • e-WOM can make or break your brand’s success, so make sure you respond to it in the right way


If you would like to read more about the digital marketing revolution, Philip Hendrix’s ‘How Digital Technologies are Enabling Consumers and Transforming the Practice of Marketing’ (2014) is a good place to start.

Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice by Dave Chaffey is a useful for any student of practitioner in the industry.

Marketing and the Not-for-Profit Organisation

Fundraising Collection Tin
Collection tin for fundraising

Marketing has become an integral part of not-for-profit organisations.  Not only has competition for funding increased, there is a greater need for charities to clearly communicate their aims to stakeholders.  Not-for-Profit organisations have one important aim: to raise money in order to pursue that organisation’s objectives, usually for a specific cause.  Charities aren’t selling a product, they are trying to reach more people to attract funding.

Social Media and the Not-for-Profit Organisations

More and more charities in the UK are using social media channels to promote their message.  If used effectively, social media can be a useful and affordable way of communicating your charities vision and objectives to stakeholders.  Like a for-profit organisation, marketing strategy should have clear, realistic goals which may integrate print and digital techniques.  The problem with using social media to market not-for-profit organisations is consistency, and whether it’s the best channel for communicating with your stakeholders.  Each social media channel is different but it should be one message which is communicated through them: your organisation’s, turning interest into a call to action.  Charity Digital News have some top tips for using social media to boost fundraising efforts which can be viewed here.

Creative fundraising

Not-for-Profit organisations are becoming cleverer.  The right thinking and innovation towards your marketing strategy can allow for cheap execution of marketing campaigns.  Social media is virtually free with one of the biggest resources you will invest is time.  This year we’ve seen a rise in creative fundraising campaigns which have attracted millions of pounds in donations from the public.  Charities have gone viral.


No Makeup Selfie Viral Campaign
Celebrities endorsing the #nomakeupselfie viral campaign for Cancer Research UK

This campaign hit the UK like a storm and with it, over £8million pounds worth of donations for Cancer Research UK.  The greatest thing about this campaign is that it wasn’t even started by Cancer Research, but by 18-year old Fiona Cunningham.  The campaign was quickly picked up by the public who donated millions of pounds by taking bare-faced selfies in a matter of days.  Cancer Research’s successful use of text donations allowed members of the public to text in their donations, allowing for digital donations.  This viral campaign allowed for major influencers such as famous celebrities to help spread the message and support the cause, without actually hiring them.  

On a final note, The Guardian have came up with 5 ways to make your campaign go global.


Zoe Amar, Charity Marketing and Digital Communications consultant has provided a useful guide to creating a marketing strategy for your charity.

For some examples of charities doing it right on social media, click here.

CharityComms have created a useful guide to using social media, shown below:


How marketers are using LinkedIn to gain more than a new job

Some interesting statistics about LinkedIn and its main uses. Particularly like the fact that students are LinkedIn’s fastest growing demographic.

Fergal Duffy Digital Blogger


Welcome to my latest blog about LinkedIn.

Lets start with some stats according to press. LinkedIn:

linked 2

LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 332 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
  • In Q3 2014, 75% of new members came to LinkedIn from outside the United States.
  • There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.

So we have gathered that LinkedIn is an important platform for business people, but they use it to acquire more than that just a job such as :



According to Mavsocial, If you are planning to make the most of LinkedIn for generating leads, joining groups is a must for you. It is perhaps the most important and effective way…

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The Ultimate Multitaskers

Family using multiple electronic devices

We spend more time using screens then we do sleeping, according to Ofcom’s latest communications report.  The average household owns not only one but four devices which they can access the internet on, unlocking more potential opportunities for marketers to reach consumers.  Thinking of my own household I sit here writing this post on my laptop with my phone by my side, listening to the radio from my television.  Consumers are the ultimate multitaskers.  How can our generation of marketing professionals conquer the influx of digital devices?

Paul Verna: ‘The Multiscreen, Multitasking Consumer” (eMarketer)

We’re all together watching television, but we’re not all watching television together

In a recent webinar with eMarketer, analyst Paul Verna discussed multiplatform usage and the implications of this for marketers and consumers.  Paul’s analysis of device ownership in the USA found similar results to that of the UK: PC ownership has declined whilst tablet and smartphone ownership has seen an increase over the past four years.  Users do not rely on one single device to access content through; we have multiple devices to choose from.  How do we use our devices though? Digital media has become increasingly interactive as consumers can watch a television ad or a live show and take part in the conversation surrounding it.  We can tweet about our favourite characters, swoon over a cute advertisement and moan about a bad performance.  How can marketers effectively use these different channels to increase awareness of their brand? One key point made during the webinar was the importance of having a continuity of content across all devices.  Now more than ever, marketers need to create strong content across channels in order to reach their target consumers.  Marketing strategy shouldn’t be a’one size fits all’ approach: it should be effective in its targeting of different consumers through various digital platforms.

Navigating through the multi-platforms

Multiplatform marketing

If done right, this should be a good time for marketing professionals.  Today’s multichannel marketing strategy will need to consider all access points during the user journey.  It can be a mind boggling task for marketers but overcoming this obstacle will pave the way for the success of your brand, product or service.  A huge part of this strategy will need to consider the internet and how it can be used effectively.  What device will your consumer access the internet from? ‘Welcome to the future of play’ is Sony’s latest attempt to channel multi-platform usage.  Their most recent audio-visual advertisement shows users accessing PS4 content from multiple devices and ‘share play’ with users from all around the world.   Gaming technology is increasing its competitive advantage by integrating game play across multi-platform devices.  In this particular example, gamers can not only play games on their console but also access the internet, streaming services and even share game play with users across the globe.

Unite and Conquer

In any marketing strategy, an effective online marketing strategy is crucial for success.  Perfecting the user journey is ever so important in achieving sales and success rates in marketing.  In other words, we need to be with consumers at every step of the way, ensuring content is relevant and addresses their distinct needs.  Multi-platform communication is constantly evolving and we as marketing professionals need to be ready for change.  Marketing communication needs to be one voice across multiple platforms.


My take on liveblogging

Our generation of readers consume information in a variety of different ways.  The introduction of new technology in the form of laptops, smart phones and tablets gives us the tools to access, comment on and distribute this information faster than ever.  This is where liveblogging comes in, a phenomenon which has seen a rapid increase in the past few years. 

Live blogs are a useful method to provide coverage and commentary of an ongoing event.  Many major news sources use them to cover an event or breaking news story as it is actually occurring, rather than at the end.  They often have a very informal, almost conversational tone which readers tend to favour as opposed to a more formal style of writing. 

The Liveblogging Event itself

To illustrate the nature of liveblogging, I participated in a liveblogging event in a virtual session conducted by my lecturer.  The session lasted for just over an hour, amassing a total of 83 comments from both my own contribution and other users.  The session was useful as it allowed me to see how liveblogging events work and to consider how news agencies use them in order to appeal to readers.  It also illustrated the challenges readers can face too when contributing to one.  Rather than discussing an actual live event, I and other users voiced our opinion on the topic of liveblogging itself and how we felt during the experience.  I particularly enjoyed it, discussing a topic with a group of like-minded individuals can be quite a positive experience.  However there were some drawbacks to the discussion.  Due to the limits of the technology we were using it was difficult to keep up with the discussion as the page did not automatically update with new comments.  This can be discouraging as the discussion moved on quite rapidly and by the time I’d typed up a new comment it seemed irrelevant.  Other users experienced this too. 

Microblogging and Social Media

During the discussion the topic of microblogging came up, especially on social media sites such as Twitter. Twitter is increasingly being used as a platform for discussion of live events, particularly sporting and television.  It can be constantly updated, providing readers with the most up-to-date information on the go.  As a Twitter user I would be more likely to participate in a liveblogging event on Twitter rather than through another website.  An interesting article by Woods and Burkhaiter discusses celebrity endorsement on Twitter and whether this has any impact on brand popularity.  Although celebrities may inadvertently promote products or brands through Twitter, it doesn’t have a huge impact on their popularity.  Programmes such as the X Factor utilise microblogging sites to provide constant live updates during show time, an example of which can be seen below from the latest episode.

Live tweets from the X factor

Microblogging during the X Factor


Cameron Chapman provides a useful guide to Liveblogging, including what to do before, during and after an event.  She also offers an analysis of whether liveblogging is the right format for your event.  

To learn more about the evolution of microblogging site Twitter, click here.